U.S. National Guard says sequestration would hurt readiness

The U.S. National Guard recently commented on the effects of the possible upcoming sequestration cuts on its readiness and capabilities.

National Guard officials said that the 13,000 soldiers and airmen who are tasked with mitigating the effects of chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear terrorist attacks or industrial accidents in the United States could have delays or cancelations in training and exercises. They could also see reductions in operations and maintenance funding, according to InfoZine.com.

More than half of the National Guard's full-time servicemen and women could be furloughed for at least one day per week for the last 22 weeks of the fiscal year. The results would include a major maintenance backlog for all states and a curtailment of critical training, particularly for aviation crews.

With the sequestration cuts only a week away, officials are expressing concern that the government may operate under a yearlong continuing resolution instead of an actual budget, according to InfoZine.com.

"The greatest threat the National Guard faces today is continued uncertainty over the budget and the risk of even greater sequestration cuts," Army Gen. Frank J. Grass, the chief of the National Guard Bureau and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, InfoZine.com reports. "Sequestration would have a devastating impact on our readiness, modernization and workforce.

"We face the potential furlough of civilians and military technicians who provide day-to-day maintenance and training of soldiers and airmen in the states and territories. One potential readiness impact is a decrease in response time and capabilities to respond to fires, floods and defense support of civil authorities events in the homeland."